A sampling of street delicacies at a Taiwanese night market.
The first thing that comes to mind when Taiwan's brought up is the FOOD.
Its amazingly cheap street food is fresh and made to order. You can find anything from sushi to pancakes to dim sum. Price for these small portions average $3 USD. And the great thing about small portions, of course, is that you can sample a lot of different foods in one night.
When Taiwan’s night markets go up, the streets come alive. Starting around 5 p.m. daily, certain streets are blocked off and vendors wheel out their carts. If you’re not paying attention, it can be easy to lose your group with the throngs walking around. Streets are lined with carts selling everything from street eats to fresh fruit drinks to jewelry, clothes, CDs, wallets and electronics.
My favorite things to eat at the night markets is the snow ice – like shaved ice, but finer shavings – topped with fruit and condensed milk; a pineapple icy made to order; fried popcorn chicken (fried when you order it); and stinky tofu!
Stinky tofu is known for its stinky odor, but tastes like regular fried tofu with sweet and sour pickled cabbage. Hard to find elsewhere, it’s a must try if you travel to Taiwan.
This particular cart (pictured above) sells everything from fried chicken, to fish and beef ball, to pork, to fried calamari, to fried tofu, to cubes of pork blood. Once you order, the lady vendor fries and seasons it, and hands it to you.
One of the biggest night markets in Taipei is Shilin Night Market. Part of Shilin Market is covered, so if it rains, it can still go on. The market is so big, there's an overflow of vendors in the streets outside.
The only time Taiwan’s night markets aren’t open for business is when it rains. Even then, the rain has to be pretty bad in order for the vendors not to sell that day – many earn their living from these carts.